Kaino, Tuipulotu on bench duty for Blues

Date published: March 1 2017

The Blues have named an unchanged starting XV to meet the Chiefs in in their second round clash in Hamilton on Friday.

However they have named six All Blacks, a Maori All Black and a New Zealand U20 player to comprise the reserves bench.

Jimmy Tupou will again lead the Blues in a pack that were solid in set-piece in the win over the Rebels last week. There is a mix of Super experience in prop Pauliasi Manu, up against his former team, Tupou and All Black Steve Luatua who have 156 Super caps between them. 

And some enterprising developing stars led by Blake Gibson, Akira Ioane and Gerard Cowley-Tuioti.

The backline, with an average age of just 24 years, took their chances with the front-foot ball to get a further chance, with centre Rieko Ioane bagging a hat-trick of tries and fly-half Ihaia West moving past the 300-point mark for the Blues.

The bench is notable with Patrick Tuipulotu and Jerome Kaino returning for the first time this season to join fellow All Blacks Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Charlie Faumuina, George Moala and Rene Ranger along with Maori All Black Billy Guyton and NZ U20 rep Hame Faiva.

The players not considered for selection because of injury are Alex Hodgman, Sam Nock, Declan O’Donnell, Stephen Perofeta and Sonny Bill Williams.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Jimmy Tupou (c), 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Matt Moulds, 1 Pauliasi Manu 
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Jerome Kaino, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 George Moala, 23 Rene Ranger

Date: Friday, March 3
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19:35 local (06:35 GMT)
Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

COMMENTS